Historical Map of Fremont County, by Nancy C. Hirleman, 1983. Object ID: 2007.017.101

Located in the northwest portion of Fremont County, Whitehorn was a short-lived mining settlement. The Whitehorn News on October 1, 1897, noted how the settlement received its name. According to the article, in January 1897, A.L. Whitehorn went to the area to prospect. He formed an acquaintance with other prospectors and in April, some of the men brought specimens to be assayed[1] by Whitehorn. The results were so favorable it was decided the spot was suitable mining camp. The miners suggested Whitehorn, in honor of their assayer, with no opposition. The next day, the main street was surveyed and 40 lots at 50 cents apiece were auctioned off.  

The settlement quickly grew and by December a school house had been built. A date for classes to begin in the new school house was still to be set but the building was also to be used as the town hall. Prosperous mines helped the growth of the town with rich ore coming from the Birdie D., Jerry C., and the Little Rose. Some of the ore bring mined was running better than $100 in gold according to the Cañon City Clipper on January 10, 1899. That same year, work began in the Mollie Gibson mine in March. By April, it was giving returns of $30,000 to the ton.

As with any mining town, fire was always a worry and in May 1902, a fire burned half the town. The fire began in the Whitehorn Hotel of unknown origins, and quickly swept through the area. It was the first fire in the history of the town and the post office and telephone office were both spared. It was primarily a loss in buildings as the fire came through the least populated area of the town. Building losses included hotels, saloons, and a few residences.

At its peak, the town was estimated to have 500 to 600 people. However, the mines began to play out and people left the area. By 1916, the area was listed in directories as cattle ranching and mining section with under 40 people. 1918 appears to be the last listing of the area in the directories. The post office, opened in 1897, ended service in November 1916.      

The information presented in this article is compiled using research conducted by the Royal Gorge Regional Museum and History Center.

[1] the testing of a metal or ore to determine its ingredients and quality

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